Duke-Margolis and Sanford Launch Undergraduate Health Policy Certificate

Nathan Boucher, faculty director of the new health policy certificate program.
Nathan Boucher, faculty director of the new health policy certificate program.

Health policy works at the intersection of the delivery of health care to consumers and communities, and its effect on the economy, society, governments and the private sector. Starting in the Fall 2022 semester, Duke undergraduates will have the opportunity to study health policy in a powerful and structured way that results in a Duke Undergraduate Health Policy Certificate.

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Sanford School of Public Policy will educate students jointly in evidence-based health policy analysis, development and implementation so they are prepared to address complex challenges in health and health care at local, state, national and global levels.

“Duke is uniquely positioned to educate students in health policy, with our medical school, nursing school, other health and professional programs, a huge health system together with the university’s multiple majors and training programs. It's is a wonderful place for cross disciplinary research and education,” said Nathan Boucher, faculty director for the health policy certificate, Sanford School associate professor and faculty member at Duke-Margolis.

“The health policy certificate is a great opportunity to bring all those resources together for students, along with mentorship, classroom learning, and guided field work to be able to learn about health policy and use those skills across a variety of sectors after their education here at Duke.”

The certificate requirements includes completion of four health policy courses and two health policy-related experiential learning activities, and creating a public-facing e-portfolio which highlights the students’ health policy work and scholarship.

Duke increased its focus on health policy by establishing Duke-Margolis in 2016, which has resulted in more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students now engaging in health policy annually. Many of the undergraduates are participants in the Student Collaborative on Health Policy (SCOHP), an affinity group that championed the health policy certificate, including developing supporting content for the initial proposal.

“Many undergraduate students previously wouldn’t have the opportunity to focus on health policy,” said Boucher. “With the health policy certificate, we're hoping that this cross-campus training will allow students to function as a broad, interdisciplinary team, during and after their Duke experience, to be the next generation of leaders to solve our leading health care challenges. That’s big.”

Duke-Margolis and Sanford have worked, along with Duke’s schools of business, nursing, medicine and law, the Duke Global Health Institute, and other units within the university to build a interdisciplinary approach to health policy.

The certificate is also an example of how Duke’s professional schools are providing educational and curricular innovation in the university’s undergraduate program, one of the planks of the presidential strategic framework.

“The most important imprint we can make on a future, more affordable, more equitable health care system is to prepare new health policy leaders who are committed to value in health care that truly improves patient’s lives,” said Robert J. Margolis, MD’71 and founder of Duke-Margolis.